I have been spending a lot of time reflecting on spiritual gifts lately focusing on learning more and digging deeper into the Holy Spirit. I don't think I will ever get tired of learning about His works and wonders...
... just sharing some of my thoughts on this.
1 Corinthians 12:4-31 (NIV) was a highlighted set of verses for me.
"There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.
Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues ? Do all interpret? Now eagerly desire the greater gifts.
And yet I will show you the most excellent way."
I have read these verses several times, but this time around it hit me like a ton of bricks how much our generation (including myself some days) has become so distracted about the gifts of others and what they don't have instead of focusing on the area the Holy Spirit has gifted them.
Being a dentist of course the Holy Spirit gave me this example:
Think about teeth. Generally people just think — okay, I need my teeth to smile, eat and maintain the shape of my face. In fact teeth do a little more than that - teeth let us make different facial expressions, form words, eat, drink, and begin the process of digestion. Most people just associate teeth with their mouth and keep them there! But, did you know that teeth are crucial to the well-being of our oral cavity? Did you also know that a healthy oral cavity is directly linked to overall health. Poor oral health can predispose you to diabetes, heart disease, pre-term labor, dementia, respiratory problems and a host of other things. With all that said, can you imagine if we just decided teeth aren't all THAT important for my body. If we removed all of our teeth we would not be able to eat or nourish our bodies, smile or even speak correctly. Teeth - a body part so small, often taken for granted — yet — such a major role.
Linking the example to the Body of Christ:
Now let's link this to the Body of Christ. Are you considering a Holy Spirit given gift less important because you think you can function better with another gift? or do you look or think of another brother and sister in Christ less than out of a heart of comparison? Romans 12: 3-5 (NLT) says: "Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. 4 Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, 5 so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other." Can an entire body be made up of teeth? Don't we still need our tongue to help to move the food around in our mouth? Or the gums to protect the bones around the teeth? Doesn't each part have it's own important + unique function. Could the oral cavity survive without the other? Could the body survive without the nutrients from food?
Verses 27-31 of 1 Corinthians says: "Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues ? Do all interpret? Now eagerly desire the greater gifts. And yet I will show you the most excellent way."
Why are we starving the body of Christ by not spending time to mature our own God — given gifts? Why are we today as the body of Christ not focused on what God has called us to do individually? Why can't we all work together, uniting the gifts of the Holy Spirit, strengthening the body of the church?
Ephesians 4: 11-16 says: "Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. 13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.14 Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. 15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love."
You don't have to be on the pulpit or a church leader to operate in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Are you sharing your gifts at the workplace? At school? At church? At the hospital?
John 14:12 (NLT) says: “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.13 You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. 14 Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!
Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit
John 14:15-21 (NLT) says: 15 "If you love me, obey my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. 17 He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you. 18 No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you. 19 Soon the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Since I live, you also will live. 20 When I am raised to life again, you will know that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.”
Jesus said greater works we shall do.... what greater works through the gifts of the Holy Spirit are you missing out on?